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Foreign Policy Centre

Ideas for a fairer world

Research: Europe in the World

Related Research Projects
Caucasus and Central Asia
Public Opinion and Diplomacy
Turkey

The Europe in the World programme sees a reformed and accountable European Union as a critically important multilateral tool to help address key cross-border and global challenges. The programme has three interlinked strands that form the core of its work. Firstly it seeks to explore the UK's dysfunctional relationship with the European Union, looking both at the party politics and at the level of public engagement and understanding of the key issues. Secondly it looks at ways in which the EU can reform its institutions and policies to increase accountability to its citizens and become more effective in its actions. Thirdly the Europe in the World programme explores how the EU can be an influence multiplier for its member states on the international stage. The project has a particular focus on how the EU works with countries to its immediate south and east, through the European Neighbourhood Policy and plans for enlargement, but also looks more broadly at European influence in the world and how effectively the post-Lisbon EU External Action Service is operating.

Upcoming Events

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> The information battle: how governments in the former Soviet Union promote their agendas & attack their opponents abroad

DATE: Tuesday 21 March 2017

TIME: 18:00 - 19:30

VENUE: Committee Room 9, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

Speakers:

  • Rt Hon John Whittingdale MP, former Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
  • Dr Justin Schlosberg, Lecturer in Journalism and Media, Birkbeck, University of London
  • Dr David Lewis, Senior Lecturer and Director of Education, University of Exeter
  • Adam Hug, Policy Director, Foreign Policy Centre

Chair: Maeve Shearlaw, Commissioning Editor– World Networks, The Guardian

This event will focus on the ways in which governments of former Soviet Union (FSU) countries look to shape international narratives about themselves by using media, social media, advertising and supportive organisations to promote their points of view and exert pressure on those who oppose them. The event will look to build on and broaden the existing literature on Russian-backed internationally focused media outlets and pro-government media elsewhere in the region. It will explore how they operate to shape global narratives about their countries, influence thinking on international disputes, blunt criticism of their actions while challenging Western values and behaviour. It will look at similarities and differences between the operation of outlets from the FSU and Western supported global news services.

The event will examine the ways in which authoritarian regimes work to project their image abroad beyond the use of the media. This includes the use of sponsorship and advertising to shape international perceptions in addition to the way in which regimes create or support their own think tanks, pressure groups, diasporan organisations, parliamentary groups and work with others (such as public affairs agencies) to promote their policy agendas and influence the responses of international institutions and policy makers.

The event may also explore how government backed broadcasters, press and websites from the FSU run stories to attempt to discredit the work of diasporan and other activists challenging official narratives from outside the country. At the direction or encouragement of the authorities this can involve direct harassment, the production of untrue or politically distorted stories that aim to make activists' lives difficult even when abroad (as well as putting pressure on friends and family who remain in the country). The event will explore the growing fight for control of the social media space - with organized pro-government activity becoming increasingly visible both in responding to the actions of opposition and independent civil society and in directly promoting their agenda online. These methods include the use of paid-for trolling and the mobilization of 'patriotic youth movements' to target opponents and spread pro-government narratives to national, diasporan and international audiences.

Please RSVP to events@fpc.org.uk providing your name and affiliation (if you have one). Free copies of the new publication will be available. The event is free and open to all.

Download The information battle: London, 21 March 6pm (310 kilobyte PDF)


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> The information battle: Brussels

The information battle: how governments in the former Soviet Union promote their agendas & attack their opponents abroad

DATE: Wednesday 29th March 2017

TIME: 4.30pm - 6:00pm

VENUE: Open Society European Policy Institute, Rue du Trône 130,Brussels B-1050, Belgium

Speakers:

  • Rebecca Harms MEP, Chair, Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly
  • Kati Piri MEP, Committee on Foreign Affairs
  • Jakub Kalensky, East StratCom Task Force, European External Action Service
  • Dr Justin Schlosberg, Lecturer in Journalism and Media, Birkbeck, University of London

Chair: Adam Hug, Policy Director, Foreign Policy Centre

This event will focus on the ways in which governments of former Soviet Union (FSU) countries look to shape international narratives about themselves by using media, social media, advertising and supportive organisations to promote their points of view and exert pressure on those who oppose them. The event will look to build on and broaden the existing literature on Russian-backed internationally focused media outlets and pro-government media elsewhere in the region. It will explore how they operate to shape global narratives about their countries, influence thinking on international disputes, blunt criticism of their actions while challenging Western values and behaviour. It will look at similarities and differences between the operation of outlets from the FSU and Western supported global news services.

The event will examine the ways in which authoritarian regimes work to project their image abroad beyond the use of the media. This includes the use of sponsorship and advertising to shape international perceptions in addition to the way in which regimes create or support their own think tanks, pressure groups, diasporan organisations, parliamentary groups and work with others (such as public affairs agencies) to promote their policy agendas and influence the responses of international institutions and policy makers.

The event may also explore how government backed broadcasters, press and websites from the FSU run stories to attempt to discredit the work of diasporan and other activists challenging official narratives from outside the country. At the direction or encouragement of the authorities this can involve direct harassment, the production of untrue or politically distorted stories that aim to make activists' lives difficult even when abroad (as well as putting pressure on friends and family who remain in the country). The event will explore the growing fight for control of the social media space - with organized pro-government activity becoming increasingly visible both in responding to the actions of opposition and independent civil society and in directly promoting their agenda online. These methods include the use of paid-for trolling and the mobilization of 'patriotic youth movements' to target opponents and spread pro-government narratives to national, diasporan and international audiences.

Please RSVP to events@fpc.org.uk providing your name and affiliation (if you have one). Free copies of the new publication will be available. The event is free and open to all.


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> Investing in women's economic resilience & social wellbeing: Rethinking the role of private sector development in Africa

Nestle logo

supported by Nestlé

Part of the 'Africa Rising? Building Africa's Productive Capacity for Inclusive Growth' series

This series of roundtable discussions - supported by Nestlé - are taking place at a time when global development priorities are being reshaped and redefined by the 17 recently adopted UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Change agreement (COP21). COP21 aims to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5°C (above pre-industrial levels) however, has yet to provide the commitments needed to achieve this aspiration. In addition, the UN Commission on the Status of Women will mark its 60th anniversary (CSW60) in 2016. Its priority focus will be women's empowerment and sustainable development. The level of global inequality and insecurity disproportionately affecting women and girls continues to be compounded by an unprecedented global economic crisis, on-going austerity and mounting uncertainty. These conditions present very real challenges for public spending dedicated to sustainable development. As such, understanding the development transformation role played by business and enterprise has become increasingly important.

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Articles

> Europe and the people: Examining the EU's democratic legitimacy Conference speeches

There are videos available of key portions of the FPC's Europe and the people: Examining the EU's democratic legitimacy London Conference from October 26th 2016. The After Brexit: Can we build a new democratic foundation for UK-EU relations? panel comprising: Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP, Emma Reynolds MP, Douglas Carswell MP, Professor Vernon Bogdanor (Kings College) and Stephen Booth (Open Europe),with Marie Le Conte (Buzzfeed) chairing is available to watch on Youtube. The keynote speech by Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP, chair of the Exiting the European Union Select Committee is available on Facebook. It is also available on BBC Iplayer by BBC Parliament until November 28th 2016.


> FPC Briefing: The EU on human rights- Turning words into action

By Jacqueline Hale.

In this new FPC Briefing by Senior Research Associate Jacqueline Hale examines the EU's record on promoting human rights, democracy, the rule of law and international justice through its external actions following the launch of its global human rights policy in 2012. Following the failures of the Arab Spring, a troubled neighbourhood policy, deepening tensions with Russia, a 'migration crisis', rising xenophobia and efforts to undermine human rights by member states' governments ranging from Hungary to the UK Hale explores the more challenging context into which the EU's human rights policy has been revised in 2015. She argues that despite its roots as a peace project and community of rules and norms, in practice the EU has consistently underperformed on human rights, and its own values project is frequently undermined amid growing internal and external challenges. The briefing examines whether the EU will be able to learn the lessons of past failures, and address the growing gap between rousing words on paper and lack of political will to act on the rhetoric. It examines the 2015-19 human rights action plan in light of the EU's mixed record so far and argues that this time round, the EU has every interest in producing a human rights policy with teeth.

Download FPC Briefing: The EU on human rights- words into action (360 kilobyte PDF)


> FPC Briefing: The Moral and the Strategic-The UK's Response to the Syrian Crisis

By Dr Simon Mabon.

In recent days there has been a great deal of debate surrounding the humanitarian imperatives for aiding refugees from the Middle East. This new briefing by Dr Simon Mabon builds upon these arguments to suggest that there are also strategic reasons for helping with the crisis that could contribute to the response to ISIS.

Download FPC Briefing: The Moral and the Strategic-the UK and Syria (550 kilobyte PDF)


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Publications

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> The information battle: How governments in the former Soviet Union promote their agendas & attack their opponents abroad

[Cover of The information battle: How governments in the former Soviet Union promote their agendas & attack their opponents abroad]

Exporting Repression series

Adam Hug (Ed.)

March 2017 Hard copy: £7.95, plus £1 p+p.

Download The information battle publication (2.75 megabyte PDF)

A new Foreign Policy Centre publication examines the ways in which the governments of former Soviet Union (FSU) look to shape international narratives about themselves by using media, social media, advertising and supportive organisations to promote their worldview and challenge the people, institutions and ideas that oppose them. The information battle examines the influence of Russian media content in the former Soviet Union and the wider world. This is delivered through Russian domestic TV channels reaching Russian-speaking audiences in the region, the developing role of the news agency Sputnik and the international broadcaster RT. The publication examines how these outlets are used not only to promote Russian political narratives but to challenge Western approaches and sow confusion about what is going on in the world. It offers ideas for how independent broadcasters and international outlets can provide effective alternatives.

Despite cracking down on Western-backed NGOs at home, the governments of the former Soviet Union are seeking to directly influence the European and US political debate through NGOs, think tanks and lobbying organisations. This publication looks at how to improve the transparency and accountability of such actions. Repressive regimes that use advertising and the hosting of international events to promote themselves, are increasingly being challenged by human rights defenders through the publicity such activities bring. It also looks at the way social media is used by regimes to target opposition activists and other critics. The publication argues that, in what is increasingly becoming a battle involving the use of soft power and information, Western institutions have been losing ground and must take action in order to meet the challenge.

The publication contains contributions by regional and international experts: Natalia Antelava, Coda Story; Ana Divali and Revaz Koiava, Caucasian House; Arzu Geybulla; Richard Giragosian, Regional Studies Center; Melissa Hooper, Human Rights First; Adam Hug (ed.), Foreign Policy Centre; Rasto Kuzel, Memo 98; Dr David Lewis, University of Exeter; Ben Nimmo, Atlantic Council; and Dr Justin Schlosberg, Birkbeck, University of London. Kindly supported by the Open Society Foundations as part of the FPC's Exporting Repression project.


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> No shelter: the harassment of activists abroad by intelligence services from the former Soviet Union

[Cover of No shelter: the harassment of activists abroad by intelligence services from the former Soviet Union]

Exporting Repression series

Adam Hug (Ed.)

November 2016 Hard copy: £7.95, plus £1 p+p.

Download No Shelter publication (2.23 megabyte PDF)

A new Foreign Policy Centre publication No shelter: the harassment of activists abroad by intelligence services from the former Soviet Union examines the experiences of activists and other people who have had to leave their former Soviet country of origin due to the risk of persecution at home, but who are unable to escape the pressures of their country's security services. It looks at both the legal and illegal means used by the security services to put pressure on exiles from Interpol Red Notices and formal extradition procedures, to surveillance, harassment, physical attacks, kidnapping and assassination. Though the publication looks at the issue across the post-Soviet region there is a particular focus on the activities of the security services from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Russia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, and on both Turkey and Russia as places where exiles are most at risk. No Shelter examines regional security service cooperation and collusion in putting pressure on activists, alongside the influence of Western activities that have helped exacerbate the situation.

The publication contains contributions from: Nadejda Ataeva, Association for Human Rights in Central Asia; Civil Rights Defenders; Dr Mark Galeotti, Institute of International Relations-Prague; Arzu Geybulla; Giorgi Gogia, Human Rights Watch; Dr John Heathershaw, Eve Bishop and Rosa Brown, University of Exeter; Adam Hug (Ed.), Foreign Policy Centre; Dr Edward Lemon, Columbia University. Kindly supported by the Open Society Foundations as part of the FPC's Exporting Repression project.


Show just this publication

> Europe and the people: Examining the EU's democratic legitimacy

[Cover of Europe and the people: Examining the EU's democratic legitimacy ]

Adam Hug (Ed.)

June 2016 Hard copy: £7.95, plus £1 p+p.

Download Europe and the people (2.15 megabyte PDF)

Europe and the people: Examining the EU's democratic legitimacy examines the concerns across Europe around the democratic legitimacy of EU institutions and the European project as a whole. It looks at how the debate about EU democratic legitimacy fits within the broader context of a crisis of institutions at both the national and global levels, particularly in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis. The publication explores the mechanisms through which EU institutions seek to gain democratic legitimacy and how they try to engage the public, comparing and contrasting with other organisations at the national and international levels. It places the debate around European democratic legitimacy within the context of the UK referendum on EU membership, as well as the fallout from the Greek debt crisis. It sets out ideas for potential improvements in how the EU operates to increase its democratic legitimacy and accountability but recognises that some of the challenges will persist irrespective of efforts to reform.

This publication contains contributions from: Dr Jim Buller, University of York; Professor Damian Chalmers, LSE; Oli Henman, Civicus; Dr Victoria Honeyman, University of Leeds; Adam Hug (ed.), Foreign Policy Centre; Professor James Mitchell, University of Edinburgh; Dr Marina Prentoulis, UEA; Dr Adriaan Schout and Hedwich van der Bij, Clingendael; and Dr Matthew Wood, University of Sheffield.This publication is supported by the European Commission Representation in the UK Call for Proposals for civil society organisations 2015-16.


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Past Events

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> Europe and the people: Examining the EU's democratic legitimacy- Leeds Conference

Date: Friday 25th November 2016

Time: 3.30pm-7.00pm (followed by drinks; registration from 3pm)

Venue: Lecture Theatre (G.02), Maurice Keyworth Building, Leeds University Business School, Moorland Road, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS6 1AN

Speakers include:

  • Richard Corbett MEP
  • Linda McAvan MEP
  • Dr Victoria Honeyman, Lecturer, University of Leeds
  • Dr Jim Buller, Senior Lecturer, University of York
  • Dr Matthew Wood, Lecturer, University of Sheffield
  • Dr Mette Wiggen, Lecturer, University of Leeds
  • Professor Iyiola Solanke, Professor of EU Law and Social Justice, University of Leeds School of Law
  • Adam Hug, Policy Director, Foreign Policy Centre
  • Further speakers to be announced shortly

In the wake of the British vote to leave the EU, this conference will examine concerns across Europe around the democratic legitimacy of EU institutions and the European project as a whole. It will look at how the debate about EU democratic legitimacy across member states fit within the context of a crisis of trust in institutions at both national and international levels in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis.

The conference will explore the mechanisms through which EU institutions have sought to gain democratic legitimacy, comparing and contrasting with other national and international organisations. The conference will look to explore the potential democratic basis for a future UK-EU relationship post-Brexit, examining the emerging UK Government and EU thinking. The conference will explore the findings of the recent FPC publication Europe and the people: Examining the EU's democratic legitimacy that assessed the major challenges the EU faces and set out ideas for potential democratic and organisational reform.

This conference series is supported by the European Commission Representation in the UK Call for Proposals for civil society organisations 2015-16, though the event is independently organised by the FPC and will contain a wide range of views on the matters under discussion.

Please RSVP to events@fpc.org.uk providing your name and any affiliation.

Download Europe and the People: Leeds (300 kilobyte PDF)


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> Europe and the people: Examining the EU's democratic legitimacy- London Conference

Date: Wednesday October 26th 2016

Time: 2.30pm-7.30pm

Venue: Europe House, 32 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3EU

Speakers include:

  • Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP, former Shadow Foreign Secretary and Chair of the Exiting the EU Select Committee
  • Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP, former Attorney General, Conservative
  • Douglas Carswell MP, UKIP
  • Emma Reynolds MP, Labour
  • Stephen Gethins MP, Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Europe)
  • Baroness Smith of Newnham, Director of the European Centre, Cambridge University and Liberal Democrat Peer
  • Lord Liddle, Chair of Policy Network and Labour Peer
  • Professor Vernon Bogdanor, Research Professor at the Institute for Contemporary British History, Kings College London
  • Dr Marina Prentoulis, Senior Lecturer in Media and Politics, UEA
  • Marie Le Conte, Buzzfeed
  • Oli Henman, Head of International Networks, Civicus
  • Jacqueline Minor, Head of Representation, European Commission Representation in the United Kingdom
  • Stephen Booth, Co-Director, Open Europe
  • Karin Christiansen, Chair of Open Knowledge
  • John Peet, Political and Brexit Editor, The Economist
  • Adam Hug, Policy Director, Foreign Policy Centre

The After Brexit: Can we build a new democratic foundation for UK-EU relations? panel is available to watch on Youtube. Hilary Benn's keynote speech is available to watch on Facebook.

In the wake of the British vote to leave the EU, this conference will examine concerns across Europe around the democratic legitimacy of EU institutions and the European project as a whole. It will look at how the debate about EU democratic legitimacy across member states fit within the context of a crisis of trust in institutions at both national and international levels in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis.

The conference will explore the mechanisms through which EU institutions have sought to gain democratic legitimacy, comparing and contrasting with other national and international organisations. The conference will look to explore the potential democratic basis for a future UK-EU relationship post-Brexit, examining the emerging UK Government and EU thinking. The conference will explore the findings of the recent FPC publication Europe and the people: Examining the EU's democratic legitimacy that assessed the major challenges the EU faces and set out ideas for potential democratic and organisational reform.

This conference series is kindly supported by the European Commission Representation in the UK Call for Proposals for civil society organisations 2015-16. The event is independently organised by the FPC and the wide range of views on the matters under discussion are those of the speakers alone.

Download Europe and the People: London conference flyer (300 kilobyte PDF)


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> Europe and the people: Examining the EU's democratic legitimacy- Edinburgh Conference

Date: Thursday 16th June 2016

Time: 4.00pm-7.30pm (registration from 3.30pm)

Venue: Royal Society of Edinburgh, 22-26 George St, Edinburgh, EH2 2PQ

Speakers include:

  • Alyn Smith MEP, SNP Member of the European Parliament
  • Lewis MacDonald MSP, Labour Shadow Cabinet
  • Jim Sillars, ScotLeave.eu
  • Ross Thomson MSP, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Member for North East Scotland
  • Professor Jo Shaw, Salvesen Chair of European Institutions, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor James Mitchell, Professor of Public Policy, University of Edinburgh
  • Jonathan Stanley, Bow Group
  • Professor Laura Cram, Professor of European Politics and Director of NRLabs Neuropolitics Research, University of Edinburgh
  • Adam Hug, Foreign Policy Centre

Please RSVP to events@fpc.org.uk providing your name and any affiliation.

This Europe and the People conference will examine public understanding around the democratic legitimacy of the EU institutions and conceptually of the union as a whole, particularly in the light of the referendum debate around the UK's future membership of the EU. It will look at the ways in which the different EU institutions receive democratic legitimisation and where there are shortcomings. The conference will include explore the way in which members of the European Parliament are elected in the UK and how the institution operates, looking at what more could be done to promote transparency or greater partnerships with the general public and national political institutions. It will explore the European Commission and its processes, including the process for the appointment of Commissioners and the ways in which it consults with national governments and stakeholders in the development of directives. Europe and the people would also examine the way in which the member states operate through the European Council and the Council of the European Union to achieve their objectives. The conference will also examine public attitudes to the European Court of Justice in the context of wider UK attitudes around international legal institutions, such as the European Court of Human Rights, and the role they play in UK political debates.

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Download Europe and the People- Edinburgh (320 kilobyte PDF)


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